Evaluation of a comprehensive maternal newborn health intervention in rural Tanzania: single-arm pre-post coverage survey results

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Global Health Action


Background: In Tanzania, maternal and newborn deaths can be prevented via quality facility-based antenatal care (ANC), delivery, and postnatal care (PNC). Scalable, integrated, and comprehensive interventions addressing demand and service-side care-seeking barriers are needed. Objective: Assess coverage survey indicators before and after a comprehensive maternal newborn health (MNH) intervention in Misungwi District, Tanzania. Methods: A prospective, single-arm, pre- (2016) and post-(2019) coverage survey (ClinicalTrials.gov #NCT02506413) was used to assess key maternal and newborn health (MNH) outcomes. The Mama na Mtoto intervention included district activities (planning, leadership training, supportive supervision), health facility activities (training, equipment, infrastructure upgrades), and plus community health worker mobilization. Implementation change strategies, a process model, and a motivational framework incorporated best practices from a similar Ugandan intervention. Cluster sampling randomized hamlets then used ‘wedge sampling’ protocol as an alternative to full household enumeration. Key outcomes included: four or more ANC visits (ANC4+); skilled birth attendant (SBA); PNC for mother within 48 hours (PNC-woman); health facility delivery (HFD); and PNC for newborn within 48 hours (PNC-baby). Trained interviewers administered the ‘Real Accountability: Data Analysis for Results Coverage Survey to women 15–49 years old. Descriptive statistics incorporated design effect; the Lives Saved Tool estimated deaths averted based on ANC4+/HFD. Results: Between baseline (n = 2,431) and endline (n = 2,070), surveys revealed significant absolute percentage increases for ANC4+ (+11.6, 95% CI [5.4, 17.7], p < 0.001), SBA (+16.6, 95% CI [11.1, 22.0], p < 0.001), PNC-woman (+9.2, 95% CI [3.2, 15.2], p = 0.002), and HFD (+17.2%, 95% CI [11.3, 23.1], p < 0.001). A PNC-baby increase (+6.1%, 95% CI [−0.5, 12.8], p = 0.07) was not statistically significant. An estimated 121 neonatal and 20 maternal lives were saved between 2016 and 2019. Conclusions: Full-district scale-up of a comprehensive MNH package embedded government health system was successfully implemented over a short time and associated with significant maternal care-seeking improvements and potential for lives saved.

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Johns Hopkins University



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